online sales

NEW: Chris Thomas

SmartCompany /

One thing that’s really important to get your head around is Google’s “quality score” because if you get this bit right, this one tip could save you thousands a year.

Squeeze every click

Chris Thomas

Picking up on where I left off a couple of weeks ago, I want to discuss how to maximise the effectiveness and profitability of your Google AdWords campaign.

In the beginning, most people elect to use the “starter edition”. There’s absolutely nothing wrong going with the starter edition, as it’s easy to setup, use and manage. And let’s face it; sometimes your time is perhaps better spent working on areas of your business where you’re strongest. 

But if you’re really keen to squeeze the best value for your click spend, then it’s probably best to upgrade to the “standard edition” as it gives you much more control over your campaigns.

Certainly one thing that’s really important to get your head around is Google’s “quality score” because if you get this bit right, this one tip could save you thousands per year.

You can see your quality score for each campaign by clicking on the “customise columns” link in each of your campaigns. From the drop down list you’ll see a link to “show quality score”. Enable it, and you’ll get a new column that shows you how each keyword is performing. You’ll see “Great”, “OK”, or “Poor”.

No prizes for guessing that “Great” is best! You should also notice that the minimum bid is higher when you have “OK” or “Poor”. So obviously Google rewards AdWords campaigns with strong quality scores and you’ll pay less per click.

Among other things, Google calculates the quality score of each keyword (or key phrase) by examining:

  1. Your Google ad’s click though rate (CTR).
  2. The relevance of your chosen keywords to the content of your Google ad.
  3. The content of the landing page (where the visitor is sent once they’ve clicked on your ad).

Now, read that third point above again.

Many people don’t realise that Google crawls the content of your landing page. If Google can’t find relevant or matching keywords on the landing page that you have in your keyword list (or indeed Google ad), it determines that the quality of the experience for visitors clicking on your ad is likely to be poor. So it either charges you a lot more per click, or stops displaying your Google ad altogether. Ouch!

You’ve probably seen the pattern, it starts at about 60¢ per click, then it goes $1.30, then to $6.50, then $13.00 (I’m not sure what happens after $13.00 and I hope you don’t either!).

The trick to getting the all important “Great” quality score is to create your AdGroups with small numbers of key phrases; no more than seven or eight per AdGroup. Make sure the key phrases, which trigger the ad, are on your landing page. This means that sometimes you’ll need to adjust your landing page to include the key phrases in your AdGroup list.

If you’re using long keyword lists for each AdGroup, consider breaking it down by creating more AdGroups with smaller, more thematically aligned keyword lists and ads. You’ll find your quality score will go up, your click-through rate will increase, your costs will fall dramatically and your ad will rank higher than competitors.

And the best bit? Google will place your Google ad higher than your competitors and you’ll be paying less per click!

Next week I’ll discuss top tips for writing great Google ads.


Chris Thomas heads Reseo a search engine marketing company which specialises in setting up and maintaining Google AdWords campaigns, Affiliate Programs and Search Engine Optimisation campaigns for a range of corporate clients.

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